Sudan: Woman sentenced to death by stoning

المصدر: 
The Sudanese Victims of Torture Group
On 8th December 2001, Abok Alfa Akok a Christian woman of 18 years of age from the Dinka tribe, was sentenced by the criminal court in Nyala City, Southern Darfur, to execution by stoning for the crime of adultery.
WLUML joins the efforts of the Sudanese Victims of Torture Group, and continues to request your intervention in this case. Please continue to send letters to the Sudanese authorities as the charges against her have not been dismissed.
The Sudanese Victims of Torture Group (SVTG), confirms that the case has been sent back to the lower court for new sentencing. The court of appeal ruled at the end of last month that the lower court should give the defendant a "rebuke" sentence, not capital punishment. Abok Alfa Akok, appealed on 3 January 2002. She is reportedly still in prison in Nyala. The Sudanese Ambassador to the US, Khidir Ahmed, on Thursday 7 February 2002 informed Human Rights Watch that the appellate court has rejected the sentence on Abok and sent the case back to the trial court.

ROME, Feb 10 (AFP) -- Sudan's Supreme Court has overturned a death-by-stoning sentence imposed by a Sharia law court on a woman accused of adultery following international pressure, a Christian religious community announced here Sunday.

The Rome-based charitable community of Sant'Egidio said it had been informed late Saturday by the Sudanese government that the death sentence imposed under Sharia law on Abok Alfa Akok "has been reversed by the Supreme Court". Sant'Egidio and other non-government organisations including Human Rights Watch had led pressure on Sudan, calling of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and members of his government to save the woman's life. Roman Catholic Cardinal Roberto Tucci had gone on Vatican Radio to call on the international community to intervene. Sant'Egidio said it was trying to confirm the reversal on Sunday.

The woman, a Christian member of Sudan's Dinka tribe, is unmarried and pregnant and was sentenced to death by a lower court for adultery, punishable by death under Sharia law imposed by the Islamic authorities in Sudan's South Darfur province. Sant'Egidio said the woman had no access to a defence lawyer under questioning, and had been unable to follow the court case, conducted in Arabic.

Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion. Sudan has been wracked by civil war between the northern Muslim government in Khartoum and rebels in the mainly Christian and animist south since independence in 1956.

17 January 2002

We are concerned over the physical and psychological integrity of Abok alfau Akok, who was sentenced to death by stoning by a criminal court in Sudan and join the efforts of Sudanese Victims of Torture Group, and request your urgent intervention in this case.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please write to the Sudanese authorities urging them to:

1. To provide legal representation for Abok Alfa Akok and to guarantee a fair and prompt appeal trial.

2. Permanently abolish the death penalty in Sudan.

3. To ensure the physical and psychological integrity Abok Alfau Akok, and of all prisoners in Sudan, and guarantee their right to free trial.

4. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

His Excellency Lieutenant General Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
People's Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum
Sudan
Telex: 22385 PEPLC SD or 22411 KAID SD
Fax: +249 11 771 7 24

Mr Ali Osman Yasin
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Ministry of Justice
Khartoum
Sudan
Telex:22459 KHRJA SD or 22461 KHRJA SD (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Fax: +249 11 7740 63

Mr Mustafa Osman Ismail
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873
Khartoum
Sudan
Telex: 22459 KHRJA SD or 22461 KHRJA SD
Fax: 249 11 7740 63

Please also write to the embassies of Sudan in your respective countries.

BACKGROUND

The Sudanese Government has in the past claimed that its Sharia laws would not be applied to Christians but this case shows otherwise. The sentence was based on Article 146 of the Sudan's 1991 Penal Code, which is based upon the government's interpretation of Shari'a (Islamic law), and which states that whoever commits the offence of adultery shall be punished with:

1. Execution by stoning when the offender is married (muhsan).

2. One hundred lashes when the offender is not married (non-muhsan).

3. Male, non-married offenders may be punished, in addition to whipping, with expatriation for one year.

Her lawyer stated she did not receive a fair trial and an appeal has been submitted against the sentence.